We carry out research work in co-operation with the main European and worldwide fishing research centres to establish the scientific basis for the sustainability of marine ecosystems and fishing resources. Our research work is conducted within the framework of international bodies such as ICCAT, IOTC, ICES/CIEM, NAFO, STEFC, etc., where AZTI researchers are actively involved.

We contribute efficiently and equitably to the knowledge and integral assessment of the main species exploited by Basque fleets operating in seas and oceans around the world. We participate actively in the formulation of scientific advice for the management of sustainable exploitation of resources and fishing activity to ensure the good condition of resources and sustainment of the fishing sector involved in rational exploitation of the resources.

We participate in the preparation of scientific advice related to the different levels of exploitation and evolution prospects of the fishing resources so the relevant authorities set up the corresponding management measures to ensure sustainable activity. The main role of this knowledge area is to maintain informed and provide advice for the Public Administration and the Basque and Spanish Fishing Sector about the condition of fisheries and possible management measures to guarantee policies designed by each public administration.

Our activity is focused on three research fields:

Observation and data

We work with the fishing industry and its competitiveness.

Through the Fish Sampling and Information Network we collect data regarding landings, discards and biological characteristics of catches, and economic data of the fleets and sale price of the different species. It is worth highlighting the major significance recently achieved by data related to fleet dynamics (ship location spatial data) which have started to be collected recently.

Our experts obtain information from different biologic parameters (population structure, growth, reproduction, natural mortality, etc.); behaviour parameters (distribution and migration) from different commercial species.

Integrated assessment and management of living resources

Preserving the sustainability of the marine environment.

We provide advice to public administrations on the performance of campaigns for direct assessment of stock biomass through different methods (ichthyoplankton-based, acoustic, optical, etc.). We work hand-in-hand with companies in the sector performing joint research cruises.

We use novel methodologies to evaluate the state of stocks (including those with few data) to establish the status of resources, which take into account space-time, species multiplicity, different fleets that exploit them and their economic structure.

We have tools to enable simulation of different management scenarios and different catching rules and evaluate the bio-economic impact of management decisions on stocks and fleets.

We work hand-in-hand with companies in the sector performing joint research cruises for the adaptation of the fishing activity to the new European regulations.

Ecosystem approach to management

Our research work is conducted within the framework of international bodies .

We investigate on the impact of natural variability and climate change in the dynamics of fishing resources. We simulate the consequences of exploiting species at a certain level and how this could impact other species which are caught with them. We carry out fleet profitability studies and provide advice for optimal adaptation of fleets to evolution ofregulatory scenarios.